Sunday, January 31, 2016

Otis Clay - The Gospel Truth

"Otis Clay demonstrates how secular roots music can walk hand in the hand with fervent gospel on The Gospel Truth. While the sentiment and lyrics are purely devotional, Clay doesn't cast off his blues and soul background, which steeps this material in gritty, instrumental truth." AMG

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Otis Clay - Testify

"Testify! gathers 22 early Otis Clay tunes recorded for the Chicago-based One-derful label in the mid- to late '60s. Cut before Clay made his career defining soul hits for Hi Records in the early '70s, he chalked up some amazing gritty gospel-inflected singles, including "That's How It Is (When You're in Love)" and "A Lasting Love." This is a good introductory retrospective from this under-appreciated deep soul master and is the perfect companion to any of Clay's Hi Records material."

Some overlap with an earlier posting but not much!

Otis Clay - This Time Around

..................and rollin'..............

Otis Clay - You Are My Life

...and the train rolls on...

Otis Clay - Trying to Live My Life

And the train keeps on rollin'. One of the actual Hi Records albums. This is straight ahead killah!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Otis Clay - Live i Boston 1992

Another live Otis Clay show - this one was in Boston in 1992 and comes from Dr. Hepcat. Better audio than the previous unreleased show - be sure to thank Dr. Hepcat.

This would be from the tour in support of the 1992 album "I'll Be Good To You".

Andrew 'Big Voice' Odom - Feel So Good

 Andrew Odom - One Bad-Ass Singin' Dude!

Andrew Odom was a BAAAAD MAN!  I don't care if it is BB Odum, Voice Odom, Big Voice the man what you will, he is a Baaad Man, ain't no lie! Here is a guy who could fake you out into thinking you were hearing a Bobby Bland cut you'd missed, and at other times you'd swear it was some obscure BB King track, or most of the time you'd just wonder how anyone can sound like both guys at the same time and still have a quality all his own.

Biographical information on this dude is remarkably scarce, he doesn't even have a rudimentary  Wikipedia page! Livin' Blues, however, came to my rescue with some info:
   "ANDREW 'B.B.' ODOM - Andrew 'BB' Odom was born in Denham Springs, Louisiana in 1936, he moved to St. Louis in the 50’s. While in St. Louis he toured with Albert King and others, finally moving to Chicago in the early 60’s. He spent the next ten years traveling and recording as the featured vocalist with the Earl Hooker Band, an auspicious beginning as Earl Hooker was considered to be one of the greatest guitar players of his generation. After Hooker’s untimely death in 1970, Jimmy Dawkins hired Odom to tour Europe. It was Dawkins who gave him the name 'Big Voice'. BB King, along with Bobby Bland, were an early influence on Odom.

He traveled and recorded with Dawkins throughout the seventies while continuing to build a local reputation in Chicago’s south and west side Blues clubs. The realities of the music business and the need to support a wife and seven children prevented him from hiring a band to pursue his career on a full-time basis. Things seemed to be changing for Odom in the 90’s. In early 90s Odom was approached by Canadians Steve and Doran Katz to front their band, The Gold Tops. BB Odom worked with the band on a few dates in Ontario, which went extremely well.  A year later they were headlining the Toronto Blues Festival, and playing other summer festivals throughout Ontario. Flying Fish signed the band in December of ‘91 on the strength of their demo tape. Sadly, Odom did not live to see the release of this recording. In the early morning, on December 23, he died of a heart attack the wheel of his car. He was on his way to the Checkerboard Lounge from Buddy Guy’s Legends, where he had sat in earlier that evening which he often did in Sunday evenings after church. BB Odom’s death is a tragic loss to the Blues community. Throughout his career he had been in demand as a featured vocalist by top bandleaders like Buddy Guy, Little Milton, Magic Slim, and Jimmy Dawkins, who themselves were singers. His resonant voice, replete with Gospel fervor, lent another dimension to his Blues. He gave his all during a performance, whether he was paid for it or not. B.B. brought the healing quality of Gospel music to the Blues. He reached deep down into your soul and made you feel." Amen!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Andrew 'Voice' Odum - Farther On Down The Road

The old ABC Bluesway imprint had some first class releases and this is certainly one of them. This comes from the period when Odum was teamed up with Earl Hooker in an everyday working band so the 'sympatico' here is outstanding. The band includes not only Earl, but Big Moose Walker, Jimmy Bond and Panama Francis! One serious bunch of heavyweights!

""Andrew ‘Big Voice’ Odom is a largely undiscovered gem of a Blues singer who plied his trade around the Chicago scene for many years, supplying his soulful vocal lines on many great performances by the èlite guitarists on the club circuit. His rich tone and superb timing might have made him a star, but he didn’t get a breakthrough as a solo artist.

Born in Denham Springs LA in 1936, Andrew Odom learned to sing in Church and in the mid-50s he moved to St. Louis where he began working with guitarist Albert King. Relocating to Chicago in 1960, he teamed up with his long-term partner Earl Hooker and, because Andrew’s voice had a strong resemblance to BB King and Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland‘s, he was billed as BB Odem, and sometimes as ‘Big Voice’ Odem.
He cut his debut solo album ‘Farther on Down the Road’ for Bluesway in 1969, with Johnny ‘Big Moose’ Walker on piano, but it remained unissued for several years. Andrew was the front man for one of the hottest bands around the Chicago club scene in the late 60s, with Earl at the top of his game, and with Pinetop Perkins, Carey Bell and Freddie Roulette behind him. This is the team that played on the brilliant ‘Two Bugs and a Roach’ and ‘Don’t Have to Worry’ albums, but when Earl passed away in 1970, Andrew began fronting Jimmy Dawkins‘ band. He spent most of the next decade gigging and recording with Jimmy including European Blues Festivals, and featuring on the excellent Delmark album ‘All For Business’.

A regular face on the Chicago scene in the 80s, Andrew cut an album for the French Black and Blue label in 1982 with Lucky Peterson on keyboards, backed by Magic Slim and the Teardrops. Andrew often sat in at club gigs with Slim, Buddy Guy, Little Milton and many others who loved his rich voice and passionate delivery. The Canadian band, the Gold Tops with guitarist Steve Katz, invited Andrew to join them, and their 1992 album ‘Goin’ to California’ was one of Andrew’s finest recordings. Sadly, it was released posthumously, as Andrew died from a heart attack while driving between Chicago gigs, just days after his 55th birthday."

Thanks to the original uploader for this gem!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Otis Clay - The Only Way Is Up + bonus

An old friend called River City Slim sent this one in per my request, but he also sent a copy of HIS band's new cd as well - there will be two links in the notes one for this Otis Clay disc and the second is the album below from Slim's band. (or more accurately, one of Slim's bands, he has several)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tony Succar & Unity - A Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson

Every now and then, I stumble upon something just too good not to share. This is one of those moments:

New Orleans bassist, vocalist Nick Daniels is a facebook friend and he gets credit for turning me on to this one. A first class salsa orchestra doing a heartfelt and utterly jaw-dropping tribute to the King of Pop. I must admit that I enjoy most of these even more than the originals, in part because the lyrics are clearer and more emotionally delivered to my ear.

Real instruments, real singers with no electronic enhancements - ALL KILLAH - NO FILLAH!

Jimmy Yancy

Yet another repost by request:

" James Edwards "Jimmy" Yancey (February 20, 1894 – September 17, 1951) was an African American boogie-woogie pianist, composer, and lyricist. One reviewer noted him as "one of the pioneers of this raucous, rapid-fire, eight-to-the-bar piano style".

Yancey was born in Chicago in 1898. His older brother, Alonzo Yancey (1894 – 1944) was a pianist as well; their father was a guitarist. Yancey started performing as a singer in traveling shows during his childhood. He was a noted pianist by 1915, and he influenced younger musicians, like Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons.

While he played in a boogie-woogie style, with a strong-repeated figure in the left hand and melodic decoration in the right hand, his playing was delicate and subtle, rather than hard driving. He popularized a left hand figure which became known as the 'Yancey bass', which was later used in Pee Wee Crayton's "Blues After Hours", Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used to Do", and countless other songs. A part of Yancey's distinctive style was that he played in a variety of keys but often ended pieces in E flat, even when playing in a different key; he also favored keys considered atypical for barrel house blues (like E flat and A flat).

Although Yancey did not record during the twenties, (he only performed at houseparties and clubs) his influence was still great. Yancey was first recorded in 1939, immediately causing a great stir in both blues and jazz circles.

While many of his recordings were of solo piano, he also recorded with vocals by his wife, Estelle 'Mama' Yancey, under the billing 'Jimmy and Mama'. They appeared together in concert at the Carnegie Hall in 1948 and in 1951, the couple recorded their first album, released by Atlantic Records, the following year.

During World War I, Yancey played baseball on a Negro league baseball team, the Chicago All-Americans. Throughout his life, Yancey kept a day job as a groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox. Mr. Yancey died of a stroke secondary to diabetes in Chicago on September 17, 1951. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986." mostly wiki

Where Southern Soul Began:2 1955-1962

A repost by request:

The second set is just as good as the first!

"The music that led to southern soul is just too good to cram into one volume, so Part 2 of Where Southern Soul Began, showcases many more artists who contributed to the birth of the genre. The songs come from all parts of the south of the US: from New Orleans via Miami and from Mobile, Alabama to Memphis and Nashville. Many of these then unsung heroes such as Ted Taylor, Joe Tex, Otis Redding and William Bell, went on to have highly successful careers, and this set gives a valuable insight into the music they were making before the big hits started coming. Other artists featured are more obscure as they made only a few recordings before fading from view. Yet singers such as Steve Dixon, George Hughley and Prince Conley made just as valid a contribution to the beginnings of southern soul.

The music here inspired the giants of black American music in the sixties. It combines elements of country, R & B, doo-wop, gospel and blues, and retains the ability to move listeners some 50 years on with its emotional intensity and musical power."

Friday, January 15, 2016

Otis Clay - The Atlantic Years

Hello, Chtilins' People!   I am struggling here in China with various VPNs and a very slow Internet connection.  But I finally managed to upload a small folder!

I wanted to join in the Otis Clay love fest.  Otis was one of my very favorite artists, and a constant source of inspiration for me.  God rest his soul.  I hope that he saves a seat for me in Glory.

After Otis Clay's amazing burst of creativity at One-derful! Records, the results of which KC already posted here, Otis was signed to Atlantic's Cotillion label where he stayed from 1968 until his move to Hi records in 1971.  Unfortunately, Atlantic didn't take Otis seriously enough at the time and recorded very little, but did allow him to release five dynamite 45s for the label during these years.

As far as I am aware, Atlantic never compiled these singles into the Cotillion Otis Clay LP that should have been.  This oversight continued into the CD age, where a number of these tracks appeared only on various compilations.  So here is the great Otis Clay Atlantic album that never was.  I have compiled his five 45s in chronological order and added an additional track, Your Helping Hand, that was unreleased at the time.

There is some top drawer Otis here.  Enjoy!  

Junior Parker - Ride With Me, Baby (The Singles 1952-1961 +bonus)

A repost from a couple years ago.....

Murphy's Law is a powerful thing.

Some of y'all will remember that back around last Thanksgiving, I had spent a weekend assembling an upgraded version of MCA's less-than-great re-issues of Junior Parker's Duke sides. Literally the following week, Cliff found and ordered this newly re-mastered double disc set that covers EVERYTHING, Sun and Duke, from 1951 to 1961. Once again it was time to figure out what to keep and what to pitch. Sigh....Oh, well it was no where near as complicated for having done the previous work.

This set does a really nice job on the period it covers, BUT this one too is mysteriously pulled up at least one disc short of completing the entire Duke era. Perhaps they are working on a second set, but in the meanwhile I have attached a new 20 track supplement to cover as much of that material as I have now. Hopefully this will trigger a second Murphy's Law response and a second package will be issued that finally does Junior full justice.

Sorry to revamp your files yet again, but I think you'll find it is worth it.

Otis Clay - Respect Yourself

Our Otis Clay fest still isn't over and even after this there will be a couple more due to generous contributions from friends of the blog.

" AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett

Mississippi native Otis Clay hasn't changed much with the times, as this live set recorded at the Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland in 2003 quickly makes clear. From the start of his secular singing career in Chicago on the One-derful and Cotillion labels in the 1960s, through his high watermark on Hi Records in Memphis in the 1970s (where he was the hardest vocal hitter Hi ever recorded), Clay has stuck fast to his gospel-fueled roots, and his gruff, impassioned singing continues to be the very definition of deep soul. Backed by Tyrone Davis' old group, the Platinum Band, a nine-piece, horn-driven Chicago outfit, and given vocal support by veteran singers Theresa Davis and Diane Madison, Clay testifies hard and fast and fiery here, the way he always has. With deep, funky grooves filled out with punchy horns, and led by Clay's gruff and searing vocals, songs like the hard-driving "Nickel and a Nail," the teasing and playful "I Can Take You to Heaven Tonight," and the quick, crisp "Love & Happiness" (made famous by former Hi labelmate Al Green) burn the way the contemporary neo-soul movement can only dream about burning. This isn't retro soul, this is soul still alive and kicking, only a whisper away from a gospel revival meeting, and Clay finally takes listeners there, too, with "Amen/This Little Light of Mine" and a scorching, funky version of George Clinton's "I Just Wanna Testify." "It's a soul song, simply said," is how Clay introduces the set closer, "Respect Yourself," and anyone who thinks soul died in the 1970s will have a hard time explaining that to Otis Clay."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Otis Clay - Truth Is (2013)

A truly excellent 2013 effort from Otis - great songs, great arrangements, excellent backing musicians. One of his last and best efforts.

Maybe The Last Time

And again a repost for our LOL.

Good morning friends, this is the final volume of this particular set, but I still have plenty of material for at least a few more months.

Another fine set of passionate Gospel from the archives of the folks at Malaco.

People Get Ready

Another repost for the LOL.

Good morning my brothers and sisters, Church is once again in session and while  Deacon KC is doing his own introspective examination of the sources of his unseemly show of anger, still I return to my Sunday morning duties.

Here is another volume in this eminently listenable collection of classic Gospel. Great stuff if you aren't really all about having a collection or if you are just starting to get into it. Even those who have much of this material may want to grab it for the great sound and the appealing sequencing. If YOUR town had a radio station that played killer Gospel on Sunday mornings, you sure as... wouldn't be complaining about THIS show! Anyone on the fence just dl, and advance to track 8 -- if that don't work for ya, then walk on by my brother.

Peace be with you.

No Tears In Heaven

A repost for our LOL

The organ swells in the background and it is once again time for our Sunday service with Deacon KC. This morning I bring you an eminently listenable collection of artists well familiar here by now. I really haven't bothered to check to see how much overlap we have with previous sets, as I dance around my room this morning with tears of joy on my cheeks I find I just don't care...

NO TEARS IN HEAVEN: GREAT GOSPEL brings together 22 classic recordings by the world's most celebrated gospel artists including Mahalia Jackson, The Five Blind Boys of Alabama, The Staple Singers, Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers, Swan Silverton, The Caravans, and The Violinaires, among others.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

30 Soul Men

Otis Clay - Watch Me Now

I am not sure where this one came from, but thanks to the original source. A nice 1989 effort on Willie Mitchell's Waylo label - there is another one from the same time frame called "The Only Way Is Up" - anyone got it?

Otis Clay with The Gospel Songbirds 1964

Courtesy of Dr Hep Cat

New Orleans Gospel Recordings

NEW ORLEANS GOSPEL QUARTETS contains 21 tracks and detailed liner notes. Extremely fine recordings by the Jackson Gospel Singers, Zion Harmonizers, Southern Harps, etc. ~ Opal Louis Nations 22 track compilation features rousing New Orleans gospel music from the Jackson Gospel Singers, Famous Soul Comforters, Southern Harps, Famous Four, New Orleans Humming Four, Delta Southernaires, Southern Revivalists, New Orleans Chosen Five, Zion Harmon Performers include: Zion Harmonizers, Southern Harps, Jackson Gospel Singers, Famous Soul Comforters, Famous Four, New Orleans Humming Four, Delta Southernaires, Southern Revivalists, New Orleans Chosen Five, Crescent City Gospel Singers. Personnel: Albert Veal, Joe Maxon, Joe Gaines, Charlie Hampton, Ruth Jackson, Helen Matthews, Lee Alexander (tenor saxophone); 

Religious Recordings From Black New Orleans is also from 504 records and digs back even further into New Orleans Gospel history. These recordings come from the earliest era of 78's and even before. A little rough on the sound quality as one would expect.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Otis Clay - Got To Find A Way, The Beginning

We have lost another giant of Southern Soul, the great Otis Clay has passed away. I will be doing a whole lot of Otis posts, but this one is the earliest material out there and it is among the rarest.

"The music industry liked to peg Chicago vocal master Otis Clay as a soul singer. Or an R&B king. Or a gospel titan. Or a high-energy showman. He was all of that, and more, Clay's roots in Mississippi and musical blossoming in Chicago making him an uncommonly eclectic musician who drew upon more stylistic influences than even his more ardent fans may have realized.

The artist, who churned out hits in the late 1960s with "That's How It Is (When You're in Love)," in the early '70s with "Trying to Live My Life Without You" (later covered by Bob Seger) and in the '80s with "When the Gates Swing Open," said he soaked up the music of Duke Ellington and Thomas A. Dorsey, Sam Cooke and Muddy Waters, and a great deal more.

Clay died Friday at age 73, said his longtime arranger and producer, Thomas "Tom Tom" Washington. Further details of Clay's death were not yet known, Washington said.

"Writing this with a very heavy heart and tears in my eyes as I recently heard the very sad news that the great Otis Clay suddenly passed on," Chicago blues musician Dave Specter wrote on Facebook. Specter collaborated with Clay on "Message in Blue," Specter's critically applauded 2014 album. "Otis conveyed power with soul music and with blues like very few people I've ever heard live," Specter said Saturday. "It was as good as it gets. "His live shows — it was so stirring, and so moving. And he was a great showman. Not when you think of a showman being an over-the-top entertainer on steroids. Nothing like that. It was so real."

Indeed, in concert Clay proved a galvanic force, his gravelly, rumbling low notes and fervent, imploring high ones showing a potent mixture of the sacred and the secular, the accessible and the sophisticated.

"My life always has been a combination of things musically," Clay told the Tribune in 2013, as he was celebrating the release of his album "Truth Is." "Every Saturday night I listened to the Grand Ole Opry," added Clay, who was born Feb. 11, 1942, in Waxhaw, Miss. "During the day, later on, you listened to (radio) coming out of Memphis. During the noonday, at 12 o'clock, we listened to (blues pioneer) Sonny Boy Williamson, coming out of Helena, Ark. (And) I'm listening to Vaughn Monroe and Rosemary Clooney and listening to Hank Williams and Roy Acuff." So the far-flung idioms those artists represented were set deeply in Clay's musical persona, even before he came to Chicago as a teenager, in the mid-1950s, to live with his uncle and aunt. In Chicago he absorbed further musical influences but in the flesh.

"I guess I've always loved Chicago," Clay said in the Tribune interview. "And people say, 'Well, you're from Mississippi.' And I say, 'Chicago is only a suburb of Mississippi.' It was the place to go. It was exciting, of course. "You got to be in a place where a lot of legends (lived), whether they were blues or gospel, they were in Chicago. I guess I was about 6 or 7 years old when I saw my first live show. I was living in Clarksdale, Miss., at that time, and that was Muddy Waters. "And now I'm in the same city that Muddy Waters is living in and playing local clubs and what have you, though I wasn't going to 'em yet. Sam Cooke was here, the Soul Stirrers, the Caravans and all these (other gospel) people. It was a lot of excitement."

By age 15, Clay was singing Chicago gospel with the Golden Jubilaires, and three years later, in 1960, touring America with Charles Bridges' Famous Blue Jay Singers. That experience only expanded Clay's artistic range, because "our audience was basically, most of the time, white," meaning the singers were expected to perform repertoire well outside gospel tradition. On Sundays, though, "most of the time we would be singing in black churches. … 1960: What was the greatest craze at the time? The twist. So we added that to our repertoire. We added 'That Old Gang of Mine,' 'Mother Machree.' We were variety singers, so therefore I had that exposure, so it wasn't so hard for me to do it."

Though Clay began releasing soul records on Chicago's One-derful label in the 1960s, he never lost touch with his gospel roots, recording and performing that repertoire through the decades. When disco was ascendant in the 1970s, Clay found a growing and devoted audience for his earthy music on the other side of the world, in Japan. This came as a surprise to him. "I had no idea," he said in the Tribune interview. "I thought when we got ready to go to a foreign country, we were going to go Europe. I didn't think I was going to go to Japan, because I'm thinking Pearl Harbor, WWII. … (I thought:) What am I going to sing? I thought it was one of the craziest ideas. "And then I go to Japan. I find that they are so up on the music. That, too, was a lesson well learned. … They know the songs, they know the meaning of the songs."

Clay had been scheduled to perform Saturday night on Chicago's West Side, said arranger-producer Washington. Specter spoke to Clay on Wednesday: "When you get a FaceTime call from Otis Clay, it's a big deal," said Specter, honored by the call and noting that the singer looked to be in fine spirits.

"He was just a combination of his voice, his passion, his intensity," Specter said. Performing with Clay was "the most inspiring feeling I ever got," he said. "I remember the first rehearsal at Delmark (Records) for 'Message in Blue' – his voice made me cry. And it was just a rehearsal. "I've worked with a lot of great singers. But I don't think I've worked with anybody who had that feeling."

Funeral plans have not been announced."  Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune

Otis Clay - Live (Japan (1978) and Clarksdale (1991)

As I promised in our discussion of Soul Man Live in Japan, I am posting two more live sets here for Otis Clay freaks like me who can't get enough. The first disc, Live!, is from the first professionally recorded concert in Japan, which dates from 1978, as opposed to the 1983 concert already posted by KC.   While this recording may not reach the heights of the extraordinary 1983 set, it is still quite worthwhile for Otis Clay fans. It contains a number of songs recorded for Hi Records that he did not keep in his repetoire in subsequent years.  This rip is from a CD.  As I understand, the 2-disc LP contains a few extra songs not included here.  If anybody has access to those songs, and could post them here, it would be much appreciated.  

The second concert comes from the Sunflower Blues Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi, vintage 1991.   It is a private recording in low fi that is nevertheless near and dear to my heart.  It is the only recording I know that features Otis with his fantastic band of the time: Chicago Fire.  I had the opportunity to hear Otis live a number of times in the late 80s and early 90s with Chicago Fire.  The best of them were some of the most memorable concerts of my life.  Chicago Fire was something like the perfect foil for the artistry of Otis Clay.  They gave him all the room he needed for a secular sermon that always left you with the feeling that your soul had been cleansed and spirt rejuvinated.  

The last time that I saw Otis Clay with Chicago Fire was at Slim's in San Francisco around the time of this concert.  I went Friday night, and had to come back Saturday as well.   I was extremely happy to hear Otis' announcement that they had just signed a recording deal with Rounder Records.  Finally, I thought, this incredible sound would be caught for the ages. 

Fate would have it that, for one reason or another, Otis Clay and Chicago Fire went their separate ways before Otis went to the studios for Rounder.  To their credit, Rounder assembled crack bands for Otis' two discs for that label.   But it didn't really work.  The bands didn't know how to give Otis the flexibility that he needed to work his magic.  As a result, Otis ended up in a sort of musical straightjacket, trying hard to complement what the band was doing, as opposed to the other way around.   What could have been classic albums in the Otis Clay discography with Chicago Fire turned out to be among his weakest.

At any rate, if you can tolerate the lo fi sound, here is Otis in all his glory with Chicago Fire in 1991.

By the way, Otis' new album, Truth Is, is his best release in a while.  Support the Soul Man and buy it!

Otis Clay - Soul Man Live in Japan LP rip

The first time I posted this it was the truncated CD Version, but now thanks to Unky Cliff I am able to offer the full original double LP with 22 extra minutes of goodness!

 One thing for damn sure - Otis Clay is best enjoyed live. He is one hell of a dynamic performer. Bullseye/Rounder saved so many of these guys from total obscurity, thank god for Scott Billington and the rest of them for doing this in time to catch a Johnny Adams, an Otis Clay or James Booker before it was too late. For me the 'Moment" here is Clay's tribute to old friend O.V. Wright with his cover of "A Nickle and a Nail".

"All of Otis Clay's albums are worth hearing, but this one--a 1983 concert recorded in Tokyo--is not only his masterpiece but one of the best live soul albums since the mid '60s heyday of the Stax/Volt Revue. Backed by an incredible band (mostly the guys who played on Al Green's hits), Clay roars through a set that includes a couple of Green tunes that he thoroughly makes his own. He also quotes Sam Cooke to fine effect on the gospel-ish "Precious Precious," and nearly convinces the audience that he's the second coming of Otis Redding. This is an essential album for any soul music collection."

Recorded live at Yubin Chokin Hall, Tokyo, Japan on October 22, 1983. Includes liner notes by Robert Pruter.

Personnel: Otis Clay (vocals); Mabon "Teenie" Hodges (guitar); Henri "Hank" Ford (tenor saxophone, background vocals); Paul Howard (trumpet, background vocals); Bill McFarland (trombone, background vocals); Charles Hodges (organ); Dedrick Blanchard (keyboards); Leroy Hodges (bass); Howard Grimes (drums).

Living Blues (1/92-2/92, p.51) - "...Clay still reigns as the Windy City's top soul man, as the reissued "Live In Japan" soulfully demonstrates..."

 "Thankfully, Otis Clay is an artist who refused to change with the times. When the R&B audience embraced disco and, later, urban contemporary, the hard-edged belter wisely stuck with the type of raw, unapologetic-ally Southern-sounding soul that put him on the map. Though he calls Chicago home, Clay's approach has always shouted "Memphis!" in no uncertain terms. A 41-year-old Clay was clearly very much in his prime when this magnificent live date was recorded in 1983. Sparing no passion on such treasures as "Holding on to a Dying Love" and Al Green's "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," Clay illustrates why his small yet devoted following holds him in such high regard. One of the most pleasant surprises is the ballad "Love Don't Love Nobody." While the Spinners' excellent hit version boasted a sleek Philly soul production, Clay takes the gem straight to Memphis. " AMG

Otis Clay - The Best Of Otis Clay The Hi Records Years

The links on this one were gone and Chubby needs a re-up so I'll bring it forward for those who missed it the first go-round. RIP Otis

Otis Clay was born 11th February 1942 in Waxhaw, Mississippi in rural Bolivar County, Mississippi to a musical family, who moved in 1953 to Muncie, Indiana. After singing with local gospel group, the Voices of Hope, he returned to Mississippi to sing with the Christian Travelers, before settling in Chicago in 1957. There, he joined a series of gospel vocal groups including the Golden Jubilaires, the Famous Blue Jay Singers, the Holy Wonders, and the Pilgrim Harmonizers, before making his first solo secular recordings in 1962. They were unissued, and Clay joined the Gospel Songbirds, who recorded in Nashville in 1964 and who also included Maurice Dollison who sang R&B under the name Cash McCall, and then the Sensational Nightingales.

In 1965 Clay signed with One-derful! Records in Chicago, to make secular recordings.  After releasing a series of gospel-tinged soul records, his first hit came in 1967 with "That's How It Is (When You're In Love)", which reached # 34 on the R&B chart, followed by "A Lasting Love" (# 48 R&B).  In 1968 the record company folded and his contract was bought by Atlantic Records, who launched their subsidiary Cotillion label with Clay's version of the Sir Douglas Quintet hit, "She's About A Mover", produced at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. The record became Clay's biggest pop hit, reaching # 97 on the Hot 100 (# 47 R&B). However, follow-ups on Cotillion, including "Hard Working Woman" produced by Syl Johnson, and "Is It Over?" produced by Willie Mitchell in Memphis, were less successful.

Clay moved to Mitchell's Hi Records in 1971, and made many of his best known soul blues records for the label. His biggest hit came with "Trying To Live My Life Without You," a # 24 R&B hit in late 1972, which he followed up with "If I Could Reach Out". "Trying To Live My Life Without You" was later covered by Bob Seger, whose version made # 5 on the pop chart in 1981. After several more
Otis Clay w/ the Hi Records Rhythm section
Hi singles and the album I Can't Take It, Clay moved to Kayvette Records, where he had his last national hit single in 1977, "All Because Of Your Love" (# 44 R&B). He later recorded for the Elka and Rounder labels, as well as his own Echo Records for whom he recorded the original version of "The Only Way is Up" in 1980.

He has remained a popular live act in Europe and Japan, as well as the US, and has recorded two live albums, Soul Man: Live in Japan and Respect Yourself, recorded live at the Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland. In the 1990s he also recorded two soul albums for Bullseye Blues: I'll Treat You Right and the Willie Mitchell-produced This Time Around. In 2007, he recorded the gospel album Walk a Mile in My Shoes.

In a way, Clay has become a standard bearer for the grittier blues soul hybrid and the Chicago soul tradition when the city is more readily recognised as the nerve centre of so many great blues records and home to a number of the great and legendary straight ahead blues performers. He has been a nominee for a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. As a resident of Chicago's West Side, he is actively involved in community-based economic and cultural initiatives, including the development of The Harold Washington Cultural Center.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Johnny Adams - The Early Singles of the Tan Canary

Okay...,it becomes a regional thing here. To me this is the baddest Johnny of the whole damn bunch right here! Johnny Adams could be drunk AND have pneumonia and STILL out sing damn near any MoFo on the planet.....just saying, imo and all that (of course if you disagree you need some Qtips).

I've completely reworked this early post to include the vast majority of the Tan Canary's early singles - there are three collections in the 2 links and only 2 tracks overlap giving you....drum roll....50 tracks!

 "He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the oldest of 10 children, and became a professional musician on leaving school. He began his career singing gospel with the Soul Revivers and Bessie Griffin's Consolators, but crossed over to secular music in 1959. His neighbor, songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie, supposedly persuaded him to start performing secular music after hearing him sing in the bathtub, and he recorded LaBostrie's ballad "I Won't Cry" for Joe Ruffino's local Ric label. Produced by teenager Mac Rebennack (later known as Dr. John), the record became a local hit, and he recorded several more singles for the label over the next three years, mostly produced either by Rebennack or Eddie Bo. His first national hit came in 1962, when "A Losing Battle", written by Rebennack, reached #27 on the Billboard R&B chart.

   After Ruffino's death in 1963, Adams left Ric and recorded for a succession of labels, including Eddie Bo's Gone Records, the Los Angeles-based Modern Records, and Wardell Quezergue's Watch label. However, his records had limited success until he signed with Shelby Singleton's Nashville-based SSS International Records in 1968. A reissue of his recording of "Release Me", originally released on Watch, reached #34 on the R&B chart and #82 on the pop chart. Its follow-up, "Reconsider Me", a country song produced by Singleton, became his biggest hit, reaching #8 on the R&B chart and #28 on the pop chart in 1969. Two more singles, "I Can't Be All Bad" and "I Won't Cry" (a reissue of the Ric recording) were lesser hits later the same year, and the label released an album, Heart and Soul. However, he left SSS International in 1971, and recorded unsuccessfully for several labels, including Atlantic and Ariola, over the next few years. At the same time, he began performing regularly at Dorothy's Medallion Lounge in New Orleans as well as touring nightclubs in the south.

  In 1983, he signed with Rounder Records, and began recording a series of nine critically acclaimed albums with producer Scott Billington. Beginning with From the Heart in 1984, the records encompassed a wide range of jazz, blues and R&B styles while highlighting Adams' voice. The albums included tributes to songwriters Percy Mayfield and Doc Pomus, as well as the jazz-influenced Good Morning Heartache which included the work of composers like George Gershwin and Harold Arlen. The albums, which also included Room With A View Of The Blues (1988), Walking On A Tightrope (1989), and The Real Me (1991), brought him a number of awards, including a W.C. Handy Award. He also toured internationally, including frequent trips to Europe, and worked and recorded with such musicians as Aaron Neville, Harry Connick Jr., Lonnie Smith, and Dr. John."

He died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1998 after a long battle with prostate cancer."

Monday, January 4, 2016

Andrew B.B. Odum - Goin' to California

 A repost by request:

"Not long before he died, Odom made the album of his life with a combo called the Gold Tops, who provided precisely the right backing to properly spotlight his booming voice. A few overdone standards -- "Rock Me Baby," "Woke Up This Morning," "Next Time You See Me" -- intrude a bit, but Odom's own "Bad Feelin'," "Why Did You Leave Me," and "Come to Me" make impassioned amends. Steve Freund, best-known for his long stint with Sunnyland Slim, contributes stellar lead guitar." Bill Dahl